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Reward-specific satiety affects subjective value signals in orbitofrontal cortex during multicomponent economic choice [Economic Sciences]
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  (IF11.205),  Pub Date : 2021-07-27, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2022650118
Alexandre Pastor-Bernier, Arkadiusz Stasiak, Wolfram Schultz

Sensitivity to satiety constitutes a basic requirement for neuronal coding of subjective reward value. Satiety from natural ongoing consumption affects reward functions in learning and approach behavior. More specifically, satiety reduces the subjective economic value of individual rewards during choice between options that typically contain multiple reward components. The unconfounded assessment of economic reward value requires tests at choice indifference between two options, which is difficult to achieve with sated rewards. By conceptualizing choices between options with multiple reward components (“bundles”), Revealed Preference Theory may offer a solution. Despite satiety, choices against an unaltered reference bundle may remain indifferent when the reduced value of a sated bundle reward is compensated by larger amounts of an unsated reward of the same bundle, and then the value loss of the sated reward is indicated by the amount of the added unsated reward. Here, we show psychophysically titrated choice indifference in monkeys between bundles of differently sated rewards. Neuronal chosen value signals in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) followed closely the subjective value change within recording periods of individual neurons. A neuronal classifier distinguishing the bundles and predicting choice substantiated the subjective value change. The choice between conventional single rewards confirmed the neuronal changes seen with two-reward bundles. Thus, reward-specific satiety reduces subjective reward value signals in OFC. With satiety being an important factor of subjective reward value, these results extend the notion of subjective economic reward value coding in OFC neurons.